[Advaita-l] In Rig-veda Agni Deva, the fire, is Brahman

sidha at omkarananda-ashram.org sidha at omkarananda-ashram.org
Mon Feb 7 12:32:02 CST 2005

In Rig-veda Agni Deva, the Fire, is Brahman

Respected Shriparasukhananda Ji,

>>>>>>I am highly impressed with your scholarly articles in the advitaL
groop messages and understand your burning quest to know about the
real knowledgr. I read your articles on the Sun and the fire,
depicting them as Brahmam.

Respected Sir, my inspiration has been the following passage from the
Nirukta. Which would enable you to understand my direction. "When the
humans saw the Rishis (Seers of the Mantras) departing from this earth,
they asked the Devas, who would be our Rishi now? They gave them the Rishi
Tarka, which is Logic or rationality." The second episode that has kept on
inspiring me is the famous teaching of Buddha, "don't accept what I say
because I'm saying it, but think and meditate upon it, and if it appeals
to you only then accept it". The third term that has inspired me immensely
is the term "oha-brahma" used in Rig-veda 10-71-8, which mean "those for
whom Uha = Tarka Logic rationality is the greatest. However, as there is a
saying "tarkaapratishthaanaat" there is no end to logic, my attitude
towards that Tarka is the described again by Yaska in his final sentence
of the Nirukta, "This Tarka is the combination of Shruti (hearing or
studying the Vedas), Mati (Understanding them rationally) and Buddhi
(realizing them), and one can only reach its end by austerity (the
austerity that has been described in the 17th chapter of the Gita)". In
ManuSmriti it is clearly mentioned (12-106) that "Only a person, who
meditates upon the teachings of the Rishis with the help of Logic that is
not against the Veda, knows the true essence of Dharma, no one else." This
is the attitude that I keep in my mind. I might sound sometimes against
the scriptures, I can be against all scriptures, but not the Vedas. That
is for sure.
While mentioning ManuSmriti here I would like to add that the attitude
towards the interpretation of the Rig-Veda that I have adopted, or Agni,
as in the article that has been rejected by you, is also mentioned in the
Manu Smriti, "Some people call it Agni, others call it Manu, others call
it Prajapati, some call it Indra, some call it Prana, others call it the

>>>>>>>>>>But in my opinion, none with a name and form can be given the
status of Brahmam instantly, although every particle of the
world is not different from the Brahmam.

Brahman is itself a name that has been given by the Upanishads. OM is a
name of that Brahman. Similarly Agni can be accepted simply as a name of
that Supreme. A name that is particularly describing a very particular
aspect of the Supreme, which is Light. The Supreme has manifested itself,
and indeed it is its first manifestation in the process of creation, in
the form of Light that is existing everywhere in this universe. In the
Big-bang, In the center of a Galaxy, in the center of our solar system, in
the center of our earth, in the center of our body. By taking this "Tejas"
as a symbol, we are trying to worship and glorify that Supreme, which is
not the least different from this Tejas.

>>>>>>>>The Fire, as I know is the symbol of darkness in vedantha, and was
placed in the lower Amedhya chakraas.

I think we are confusing tantra with Vedanta. How on earth can Fire be the
symbol of Darkness in any scripture at all? I can't recall any Vedantic
scripture telling any similar thing, on the contrary the Shatapatha
Brahmana, of which the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad is a part, clearly states
that "indeed Agni is Brahman" (10-4-1-5). Even the Gita (4-24,
"brahmAgnau") could be interpreted in a similar way, even though such an
interpretation has been condemned by Acharya Shankara. However, we
shouldn't forget that his condemning of such an interpretation is not
since the interpretation would be wrong, but simply because that wouldn't
be appropriate to the particular context. That leaves some room for
validity for such an interpretation.
The only thing that I have read in a few places in the Rig-veda is that
Agni has been said to attain its "tejas" from the Sun while the Sun sets.
In a way the Sun before setting "hands-over" its Tejas to Agni deva. That
is totally logical since the true illumination of the physical Agni is
only visible after the Sun sets. So, somehow it can be said to be in its
full glory and radiance only in the night, but how that should lead to its
being a symbol of darkness would be a total mystery for me. Is there any
logical explanation you could give?
Regarding chakraas, I'm totally ignorant in that field. I don't have any
knowledge at all. However, I can't see their existence in any Vedic
scripture. So, I'm not interested in them, since that doesn't come into my
field. I want to remain pure Vedic, that is a complete thing in itself,
based on the Samhita, Brahmana, Aranyaka and Upanishads. Even scriptures
like Brahmasutra and Gita don't mention Chakras, so I don't feel any
necessity in knowing more about them right now. Neither can I "relate" to
them myself whenever I hear anything or read about them from anybody. For
me, anatomy helps me more in my Vedic research. I'm more interested in
things like Descartes telling us about the seat of soul, Pineal Gland,
sort of stuff. That interests me very much, since at least I can relate to
those things. Since they scientifically proved and I can freely get
convinced from them. It is the same with Vedas. With as much as I have
studied yet, I'm 100% convinced. I think this is a very great necessity,
we can only be successful in a particular path when we are 100% convinced.
Only then the power of truth (that has been described in the Chandogya
Upanishad, "esha vaa ativadati, yah satyenaativadati") comes in our speech
and life. Otherwise we shout things that we are secretly not sure
ourselves. Sorry, I'm just giving my thoughts freely.
Chakras have even not been mentioned in any traditional commentary of the
Yoga Sutras by Patanjali. It is a very modern development, from scriptures
like ShatchakraNirupana etc.

>>>>>>>It is the place for all the worldly pleasures and mostly belongs to
the aasuree pravritti..

How can the fire be the place for all worldly pleasure? Yes, one can
obtain beautiful concepts by worshiping the fire, he can obtain a
particular attitude towards life, which if implied into practical world
could lead a person to become a millionaire, I should say, just for an
example. In this way the worship of the fire can bestow all types of
wealth upon us, but why on earth should it be the place for worldly
pleasures, I can't really understand. If you are talking about the Amedhya
Chakra then I'm again totally ignorant. Please help me to understand, I'm
ready and positive.
Let me tell you that all the Devas, including Agni, are called "asura" in
the Rig-veda. Asura is a great term of respect, if taken in the
terminology of the Rig-veda. The word "Ahura Mazda" (God's name in
Zoroastrianism) has been derived from the Vedic term "Asura". This is in
fact again a name of Supreme Brahman in the Rig-veda, and it is the only
underlying similarity between all the Devas. "devaanaam asuratvam ekam" as
the Rig-veda says. Asu means knowledge, ra = to have, he who has the
greatest Prajna, knowledge, is called Asura in the Rig-veda. You can see
here how the ancient Vedic culture and terminology is different from
today, even the way of thinking is very different, this is the ancient
culture that I'm striving to rediscover. I'm only discussing all this in
here to see what the scholars have to say against all this.

>>>>>>>The agnimandala represents to the Adholokaas which are called
Andhataamisra. These chakraas are also called as Siva Chakraas.

I invite you towards a better understanding for such terms. I think one
should look at them with a more logical and understandable interpretation.
Let us be realistic, let us please talk about things that we at least can
relate to in our daily life. These are all things that are fit for great
scholars, but don't have any meaning in the external reality and in
today's scientific world. What I love about the Veda that it has a perfect
scientific context. These things don't  have in existence in today's
scientific world-view.
Adholokas for me only mean people that live in a lower realm of
consciousness, like those living with extremely selfish motif. How should
they be represented by the Agnimandala, I can't understand!
Andhataamisra, the way I understand it, is only a synonym for Abhinivesha,
described in the Yoga Sutras 2-9, the fear of death that we see in the
form of the common instinct to protect ourselves, the fear of total
elimination. This has been called "andhataamistra" in Veda Vyasa's
commentary on the Yoga Sutra 1-8, and also has been clearly mentioned in
Vishnupurana 1-5-5. This is also an effect of Avidya. Any other
interpretation seems not at all logical, rational and scientific to me.
Please clarify.

>>>>>>“Chaturasraprakritikam Siva Chakra chatushtayathmakam.” This Agni is
considered as Rudra. Himself.

I know that Agni is also mentioned in many places as Rudra, but that is
mainly the Agni existing in the thunderbolt. I know that the whole Shri
Rudram (in the Yajur Veda) is nothing else but a prayer to that Agni,
Vaidyutaagni or Madhyamaagni. "rauti iti rudrah" (Nirukta 10-7-3), it is
called Rudra since in makes a great sound, like a Vrishabha, a bull.
Durga's commentary on the Nirukta also adds that since it kills the
sinners or makes them to weep, it is called Rudra. Prana is also praised
in various places as "Rudra" since it makes our relatives to weep when the
Prana departs. However, according to the Nighantu, on which Yaska's
Nirukta is a commentary, says that the term Rudra also means a stotaa, one
who prays to the Lord, a worshipper. Since he also creates divine sound.

>>>>>>>“AgnirVay Rudrah” Rudra is a god who makes every one cry and weep
by immersing one in the samsaara and compels him to immerse in the
worldly pleasures and suffer eternally.

I can't find any Vedic proof for this interpretation. I should rather say
that Brahman in the form of "the Destroyer" of this creation, as mentioned
in many upanishads and also the 2nd Sutra of the BrahmaSutra, is Rudra.
So, Rudra is just one aspect of that Supreme Brahman. I would like to tell
you that I have seen many Shlokas (but not Mantras to be clear) in which
Brahma Vishnu and Rudra have been described as being the three faces of
Bhagavan Surya Deva.

>>>>>>>>>>> “Sahasraani sahasraso ye rudraa adhibhoomyaam-
theShagum sahasra yojane avadhanvaanithanmasi.”

Rudra is only one, "eka eva rudro na dvitiiyo'vatasthe", there is only one
Rudra, not a second one. This is what one Mantra says. The second Mantra
quoted by you says very clearly that there are sahasra (i.e. endless)
Rudras. This apparent contradiction in the Veda is reconciled by
interpreting the endlessness of Rudra through His manifestations. There
are many such apparent contradictions existing in the Veda, which can only
be understood in the light of a spiritual interpretation of the Veda. For
example one Mantra says, "Indra doesn't have any enemy" while one other
Mantra clearly mentions that "Indra conquered hundreds of His enemies".

>>>>>>>>>Unless the Rudra is associated with the Sakthi he does deserve to
be honoured at all.
He can not be called Siva.

Why not? In many places Rudra, i.e. Agni is called Shiva. Shiva just means
Kalyana kara, one who is auspicious, divine. It means "bhadra". According
to the Nighantu "shiva" means "sukha, ananda" i.e. bliss. It is in many
places of the Veda just mentioned as an attribute to Agni. The word Shiva
also sometimes becomes "sheva" in Rig-veda meaning the same (bliss).
Please have a look at Monior Williams Dictionary. The first few meaning of
the word Shiva are its Vedic meanings. It is in this meaning that I used
that term in my previous article.

>>>>>Agni is also called Jaathavedah.

Jaatavedas in the Veda means "one who knows all that have come into
existence". Agni is called so because he lies in every womb giving birth
to every creature. Isn't it the warmth and heat of the mother, from which
the child gets nourished. Even the egg needs heat to develop. Agni Deva is
doing its work for every creature to be born, this is what is meant by

>>>>>>>>>>Jaathavedasi is Durga. “Jaathavedase sunavaama somam”. She is
the nectar or the Water.

Durgaa has nowhere in the Samhita parts of the Veda mentioned as a
goddess. That is a later pauranic development of Maayaa. The term
Jaatavedasi doesn't even exist in Vedic literature according to my
knowledge. I doubt if it exists anywhere else. It would be a great help to
me if you could point out any reference. I haven't come across any such
reference in the past 20 years, since I have been studying Sanskrit. In
the mantra that you have quoted, it is only the 4th case of "jaatavedas",
i.e. we bow down to Jatavedas, the fire.
Even in the following Mantra "taam agnivarnaam tapasaa" etc. Durga has
been mentioned as being radiant and burning like the fire, which rules out
the possibility of its meaning "water". However, this is the only place
where she has been mentioned, in the last part of the Taittiriya Aranyaka,
in it "Khila", which is like an appendix. The Aranyaka itself is the last
part of the Taiitiriya Brahmana, which in turn is the last part of
Taittiriya Samhita. Sayana clearly indicates here in the commentary that
Durga has been only mentioned in the Kalpa Sutras apart from here. She is
not at all a Vedic goddess. The rest Mantras of the Sukta are only praises
to Agni, nothing to do with Durga. Just the word occurs, that too in
neutral gender, nothing to do with Goddess Durga.

>>>>>>>>Both these water and Fire are an inseparable duel like Siva and

I'm sorry but I'm really unable to understand what you mean by this? And
have you come to this conclusion? Is there any such statement that has led
you to this conclusion?

>>>>>>>> “Apsu jyothih pratishthitam” “ “JyoteenShyaapah pratisthithaah”,
“Adhbhyo agnih”.

The first two quotations are from the Taitttiriya 3-8. I would like to
have a clear reference to the third one, since I think that quotation is
"agneraapah. adbhyah prithivii" (Taittiriya 2-1).
The first two quotation simply say that there is fire is established in
the waters (one can see that in the clouds) and there is water in the
fire. H2O = water. Hydrogen is highly flammable, and also oxygen is a must
for combustion. However, the context there in the Upanishad is that "water
is the food, and fire is the one who eats the food", this is how they are
mutually existing within each other. There are two more such similar
examples in that context, Prana exists in the body and body exists in the
Prana, i.e. body is depended on the Prana; or the earth is existing in the
ether, i.e. it is the ether that is bearing the earth, and the ether is
existing in the earth. What is meant is that in a similar way "water
exists in the fire" since fire is the cause of water, and "fire exists in
the water" in the same way like clay exists in a clay-pot.
Traditional scholars like Sayana comment upon it in a different way. He
says, "fire is existing in the water, because we see fire in the form of
thunderbolt in the waters of the clouds. And water is existing in the
fire, because we see that when the body is heated, it starts to perspire".
One thing is for sure, that this shruti doesn't in any way proof that
water and fire are inseparable duel or something like that. That is a very
different context.

>>>>>We cant say which is first in the evolution.

It is clear from the correct third quotation that fire comes first
according to the Srishtikrama of the Upanishads, accepted by all
philosophers and water comes after fire.

>>>>>>>>“Yopaamaayatanam veda aayatanavaan bhavathi
agnirva apaamaayatanam aayathanavaan bhavathi
yo agneraayathanam veda aayathanavaan bhavathi
aapova agneraayathanam aayathanavan bhavathi
ya evam veda||”

Sayana explains this thus: The cause of the waters is the fire, that is
why they are established in the fire. However, since the entire creation
is said be existing in the beginning in the form of "apas" or "salila"
which is a mixture of all objects, also translated as a sort of water, but
indeed not the physical water, here the term "water" just has been used to
denote a particular type of mixture. In which even the fire is existing.
This is a very deep science, which has to be understood deeply and
mystically. Only then all this can be understood. If you are interested,
in further understanding of this quotation according to Shvetashvatara
etc. please let me know, I would search you out all the needed quotations
to make my point clear. They are just not popping up into my mind right

>>>>>>>“Ashrutaa sashrutaa sascha yajwaano ye apyajwanah
swaryantho naapyapekshatha indramagnincha ye viduh
sikathaa iva samyanthi rasmibhih samudeerithaa
asmaallokaadamusha chyetyapahaarunikee srutih||”
We have to meditate upon both the agni and water together in a combined
form and not separately. Here Indra means the lord of waters. If you say
Agni is Brahma, it can not be the truth.

Please give clear references to the above quotation. Since I have mainly
focused my studies on the Rig-veda, I'm unable to locate the above
quotation. I'm unable to comment until I don't see the context. Indra
nowhere in the Veda is the lord of waters. That is again a later Pauranic
development, totally not heard about in the Vedas. If at all, but that too
only to some extent, the God of waters is "Varuna". Indra and Agni have
been glorified in a combined form in a very few Suktas in the Rig-veda.
All other Suktas glorify them differently.

>>>>>>>>In the same way, the Sun god also cannot be considered as Brahma.
The Sun is not a reality at all.

There are so many Surya Suktas in the Rig-veda.

>>>>>>> It is the admixture of ”agneeshomathmakam” and having no
individuality at all.

Please give a clear reference stating that!

>>>>>>>The golden coloured rays of the Agni (having the nature of rising
upwards) while ascending towards the moon, and the white silvery
rays of the moon decending downwards, both met and mixed up in the
Chathurdasa bhuvanaatmaka chaturdasaara chakra and formed as a
round circle there.

Any Vedic proof?

>>>>>>It is described in sreesuuktha as “Suvarna rajatha srajaam”.

That is a description of Lakshmi. Nothing to do with all the stuff you
have mentioned in the above paragraph.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Just as the universe of the fourteen worlds is considered
as Midhyaa, this Sun also should be considered as Midhya.

It is, eventually everything is Mithya. Even the Ishvara in Vedanta is
Mithya. When there is no creation, there can be no creator. But still we
say that Ishvara is Sopadhika Brahman. It is the same with the Sun. It is
a manifestation, but what I mean to say is that in many places in the
Rig-veda that Supreme God has been praised by calling it "Sun". I don't
mean to say that this physical sun that is visible to our eyes, is
Brahman. This is just a manifestation.

>>>>>>>>>>>Have you ever seen any authority in vedaas that the rays of the
sun going to the moon? The vedaas recognized the moon only as
Swayamprakasaka. And not the Sun god at all. The Sun represents
the universe which is Jada, cannot be equelled with the

A total misunderstanding. Please read the following words from an article
by me recently published in a magazine.
"One particular ray of Surya Bhagavan (the Sun) has been mentioned in the
Shukla Yajur Veda 18-40, called "SushumNa", i.e. great bliss ("sushumNaH
sushThusukhah" as Acarya Durga, the commentator of the Nirukta interprets
it in Sanskrit). This particular ray is said to give light to the moon,
clearly indicating that Vedic Seers knew very well that the light seen in
the moon, is not its own, but it simply reflects the light of the Sun.
That is why one of the name of the moon in the Veda is "Gandharva", i.e.
the bearer of a ray (from the Sun)."

In the end, before concluding I would like to thank you very much for
taking the pains to consider my exhaustive article. I thank you very much
and would feel very sorry if I heart anybody's feelings with this
free-minded article. This is just for a better understanding of the
scripture. I could be totally wrong, but this was what seemed correct to
With all my Love and respect, Pranams to you, and thank you very much once
Siddhartha Krishna

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